When it comes to NFL betting futures, the best odds to be had are bargains for who can win the championship, and for Super Bowl LV, there are great value picks even at this late stage of the 2020 season.
Going off of the latest DraftKings odds, let’s take a look at where the best value is on the NFL championship futures market as the road to Super Bowl LV continues on.
NFL betting futures: 2nd-tier Super Bowl contenders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1600)
Other than that short-week, Thursday Night Football loss to the Chicago Bears, which came by only one point at 20-19, what is there to be alarmed about for Tampa Bay?
Even without stud nose tackle Vita Vea for much of the season, the Bucs boast an elite defense. On the other side of the ball, quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians were an arranged marriage, and they’re trying to sync up on the fly despite vastly different football philosophies.
All this without a training camp or preseason, after Brady spent 20 prior years in New England. Guess what? Brady has been largely productive this season. Plus, Tampa Bay finally got a bye in Week 13, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time, fresh off two hard-fought 27-24 defeats at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
Both those teams are legitimate candidates to be in Super Bowl LV, as are the only other club the Bucs have lost to in 2020, the New Orleans Saints.
No need to sell stock on Brady and Tampa Bay. In fact, this is probably the best time to buy the Bucs as a championship winner. Their odds are bound to shrink, given that they don’t face an opponent with a winning record entering Week 14 the rest of the way.
Buffalo Bills (+1700)
Josh Allen went scorched-earth on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in Week 13, playing what had to be his best game as a pro: 32-of-40 passing, 375 yards, four touchdowns and a 139.1 passer rating. It marked Allen’s fifth game of 2020 with an 80-plus passer grade at Pro Football Focus, whereas he had just two by those metrics in his first two seasons combined.
Although the Bills have the ninth-worst rush defense in the NFL to date, they boast an elite secondary, and one of the league’s most rapidly-improving quarterbacks in Allen. Because of how talented the third-year passer is, there’s no telling what his or Buffalo’s ceiling is in 2020.
With an inside track to, at long last, wrest the AFC East crown away from the Patriots and host a playoff game — albeit with few to no fans in attendance — the Bills should earn the AFC’s third seed.
The big hurdle, of course, is that they’ll have to probably beat Pittsburgh and Kansas City en route to the Super Bowl, which sounds like a tall order. But hey, that’s what you get with second-tier division champion.
At +1700, Buffalo has upside due to Allen’s massive leap forward in Year 3, not to mention at least some postseason experience from last season.
NFL betting futures: True dark-horse championship bargains
Cleveland Browns (+3000)
Are these Browns this year’s version of the 2019 San Francisco 49ers, albeit without quite as fearsome of a defensive front four? Cleveland’s is nothing to sneeze at, of course, with superstar pass-rusher Myles Garrett leading the charge.
Hang in there on that seemingly incredulous Niners comparison, though. Think about how Kyle Shanahan and Kevin Stefanski can be similarly described: A super sharp head coach who calls the offensive plays, operates an outside zone-based run scheme and sets up many play-action passes and easy reads for his inconsistent quarterback.
Hard to tell who’s being talked about between the Shanahan-led San Francisco bunch that won the NFC, and the 2020 Browns. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt give Cleveland the best 1-2 backfield punch in the game, so much of Cleveland’s upside for this year specifically will depend on Baker Mayfield.
In the midst of his third season, Mayfield has recently cut down on his interceptions, and beat Tennessee in Week 13 with a dominant performance in which he threw four touchdowns in the first half.
If the Browns were healthier in the secondary, they’d probably sport lower Super Bowl odds. As it stands, however, they’re a long shot worth a modest investment since they can dictate the flow of most games with their No. 1 rushing attack. Buy now before star cornerback Denzel Ward returns from injury to help the defense.
Miami Dolphins (+6000)
The big question mark is about the offense as a whole. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa has looked shaky and unsteady for much of the time he’s been under center this year. In his defense, he’s used to playing behind Alabama’s mammoth offensive line and having NFL-caliber receivers school college defensive backs and break wide open on nearly every play.
Whichever way head coach Brian Flores goes at the quarterback spot, his Dolphins are in fine shape. They’ve responded to Flores’ rapid culture change, and he’s installed an impressive defense in a very short period of time.
Tagovailoa needs to take a big step in the final quarter of the regular season for Miami to make some real noise. If he’s not ready for the spotlight, Flores may turn to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s performed well when called upon and began the 2020 campaign as the team’s starter.
What could really wind up derailing the Dolphins is their inexperienced and mostly poor offensive line. They struggle to establish the run and don’t have the means to hold up well enough on a consistent basis for downfield passing plays.
It’s more likely Miami is a year away from true Super Bowl contention. Nevertheless, if you’re feeling like you really want to roll the dice, believe things will click for Tagovailoa as he gains experience and love a team that wins the turnover battle (+7 margin on the season), the Dolphins are a fine dark-horse bet.
Minnesota Vikings (+6600)
And for our last recommendation on NFL betting futures for Super Bowl LV, we have the Vikings. How incredible would it be for Minnesota to start 1-5, only to rally and ultimately hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
What once sounded absurd now isn’t so far-fetched. Despite the dismal start, these Vikings never gave up. Against all odds, they may have upgraded with rookie wideout Justin Jefferson replacing Stefon Diggs opposite Adam Thielen. Minnesota yet again has one of the game’s best receiver duos despite trading Diggs to Buffalo.
Jefferson is more of the big-play threat, while Thielen has been a go-to target for Kirk Cousins in the red zone, with 12 touchdown grabs in 2020 to date. For his part, Cousins rebounded well from a nightmarish start in which he threw 10 interceptions in his first six starts of the year.
How have we made it three healthy paragraphs in and not even mentioned Dalvin Cook yet? He who leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns and is trailing only Titans star Derrick Henry for the most yards on the ground. Cook is an absolute beast whose elite ability always keeps opposing defenses honest.
Given how hot the Vikings are of late, why not take a Super Bowl shot at them at +6600? They have an experienced coach in Mike Zimmer, who’s guided them to multiple playoff appearances. Cousins is playing cleaner ball of late, and proved in last year’s postseason he can get it done with a road win at New Orleans.